Darren Rudge is not only a Horticulturist but also a horticulture lecturer, writer and
broadcaster. So, as they say, ‘he knows his subject’. Darren has an easy going and refreshing style. At the March meeting of the Ticknall Garden Club he was able to convey a subject that can be complex so easily to an audience. We learnt new and interesting words; for example Totipotency (a way of looking for plant cells to produce roots), Stratification (breaking seed dormancy by a period of cold), Auxins (the growing hormone), and many more.
Sexual and Asexual reproduction was explained. Sexual, therefore, seed sowing in clean and sterilised trays or pots. Asexual is using roots, stems, and leaves which enables us to have exact clones of the parent plant(s).
Using the right tools is also the key to success. Trays, pots, compost, presser board, and watering can. Secateurs, scissors, a knife and labels are always useful. Darren also suggested using honey instead of hormone rooting powder to help cuttings to strike. A new idea for me. There’s always something to learn.
Having the right growing medium for the task at hand is also important for different
processes. Darren dispelled the myths around this subject too. Therefore, in reality it
is not about the compost we buy, but it is about the ratio of compost to grit, perlite or vermiculite.
Again, we all learnt how to take cuttings. Finding a non-flowering shoot, cutting above the node (growing point) and cutting near to this point and removing the excess leaves. Darren suggested not to cut too near or too far away. Doing this means that a juvenile is created that is a healthy, pest and disease-resistant example. Darren demonstrated these techniques with clarity and care. He also demonstrated taking leaf cuttings, dividing herbaceous perennials, and showed us how to take root cuttings.
So, at the end of the day we can all add new and exciting plants for free to our gardens.